Yahoo Asia Pacific Summit

May 17th, 2011

“The key for us at Tribal DDB is not that we practice social, but rather that it is the heart and DNA of all our ideas. It is an approach, not a channel or a specific technology, such as Facebook or Twitter. It is a reflection of current consumer behavior.” – Paul Gunning, CEO, Tribal DDB Worldwide.

Paul Gunning, CEO of Tribal DDB Worldwide, was interviewed at the Yahoo Asia Pacific Marketing Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, last month about digital media trends (including social media, social commerce, and mobile marketing), and how important these platforms and tools are becoming throughout the industry and in Asia in particular.

From a macro level, Gunning explained that social media impacts marketers’ perspectives by virtue of elevating the role of the consumer and instilling consumers with the potential to be the very sources of media, rather than just the recipients. Recommendations from friends have long been a cornerstone of driving sales but social media allows clients to leverage people as brand ambassadors, taking advantage of scale.

Similarly, social commerce is impacting businesses by changing the very way people buy. Gunning asserts that, although it is in the early stages, social commerce has the potential for making a tremendous impact by serving as a catalyst for exponential brand growth. Using a few people to appeal to their wide-ranging networks on behalf of a product or service creates a whole new sales channel that was untapped on such a large scale before.  Moreover, transaction points have been amazing, with as much as 50% of  people who receive a deal promotion actually buying the product.

Gunning also spoke to the dynamic mobile platform in Asia, emphasizing its growing centrality and utility as a platform through which marketers can achieve large-scale penetration. This is especially true in a population where so many people are now bypassing the computer all together,  relying solely on Internet access from their smartphones. Gunning used as an example his own experience when interviewing a family in China a couple of months ago: he observed the fifteen-year-old daughter intently using her cell phone to social network for the entire duration of the interview, a clear indication of the ubiquity of both mobile usage and social networking throughout Asia, especially among younger age demographics.

Although digital is so pervasive, Gunning warns marketers to observe due diligence of the medium, looking closely at time spent on various devices and the impact on society at large. While it is now widely accepted that digital is a medium that offers marketers opportunities unlike any other, digital still requires careful experimentation and, unlike television and other traditional mediums, marketing techniques are not necessarily applicable across industries.

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